By Robert Elkin
Ronel Phillip of East Flatbush captured the 14th annual Major Eugene McCarthy Memorial 5K Run, named in memory of Marine Major Eugene McCarthy, a 1973 graduate of Nazareth Regional High School, last Saturday, bright and early in the morning. Brian Rhatigan of Sheepshead Bay took the early lead and held onto it for the first mile of the 3.1 mile race that started and finished in Marine Park. The course took the competitors on the outside or perimeter of the park and was basically all flat. Rhatigan eventually lost the lead to Phillip after the first mile. Phillip then kept up his own pace and covered the course in 17:45, well ahead of Rhatigan, who was timed in 18:04. Justin Chick finished 19 seconds slower in third place, ahead of Kirk Bishop, who was clocked in 18:46. Robert Cole wound up fifth in 19:28 to round out the top five. Amy Chepaitis, 38, was the first female to finish. She was timed in 21:08 for ninth place overall as runners came primarily from the borough of Queens, and Long Island. “If someone was ‘on me,’ I probably would have run faster,” Phillip said. “Still, I tried to ‘pick it up’ once in a while.” “We ran on a nice flat course and on a beautiful day,” Chepaitis said. Meanwhile, Chick, a resident of Bensonhurst, held the lead along with Rhatigan for the first half mile, “but then I got lost as I slowed down,” he explained. “We ran on a good, nice and flat course. And the turns weren’t too bad.” Some runners who reside in the area came out for the fun of it-to stay in shape. One for instance, was 49-year-old Tom Clark, who ran for Nazareth from 1971 to 1975. Clark was timed in 22:70 for 14th place overall. Clark said that one has to be in good condition when he competes in races conducted by the New York Road Runners Club. Dave Gildea, 29, goes into races with his father Mike Gildea, 51. They were clocked in 27 and 30 minutes, respectively for 25th and 36th places. Mike is preparing for the 13th annual Cosme 5K Boardwalk Run in Coney Island when the gun goes off at 9 a.m. on Sunday (June 26). “It’s great to run here in Marine Park,” Mike Gildea said. “During the summer I go into fun runs.” One of the last to finish and one of the older competitors was Herbert Persky, 72, who covered the course in 37 minutes. “We are lucky to have the race on a very delightful morning, as opposed to 90 degree weather which we had three days ago,” Persky said. “In this neighborhood race I don’t get lost in the crowd.” The race attracted members from the Nazareth High School track team, including Alyssa Forsythe, who was clocked in 26:20. She was part of a team with Tameka Byan, Sheba Guilleiane and Jaunue Stephenson to set a freshman 4 x 400 meter relay of 4:04 at Nazareth early in the outdoor school year. In addition, a special run of 200 meters for kids was won by Matthew Chung (11, boys) and Melissa Thomas (11, girls). The race, formerly held at Prospect Park, was directed by Pam DeLuca of Nazareth’s development counsel, its athletic director Rick Dolan, and its English teacher and former track and field coach Tom Dewey. “We had a competitive field,” said Dolan. “I’m happy with the way everything went. It was very worthwhile. Our race committee did a wonderful job, as well.” After the race, the day’s events also included a 3 on 3 basketball tournament, and an appearance by Kym Hampton of the New York Liberty. Anybody in the park was eligible to compete. The retirees from the Police Department of Nazareth High School sponsored the event. All proceeds of the race will benefit the Nazareth Cares Scholarship Program, which provides tuition assistance to students attending Nazareth. Rounding out the top 10 finishers in the race were Duane Harper, 20:02, Lewis Santoni, 20:35, Peter May, 20:55, Chepaitis, and Liam Egan, 21:12. The top three women behind Chepaitis were Madeline Conway, 25:01, and Forsythe.